Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Tao of Snapshootism

I am a snapshootist, a snapshotographer. I subscribe wholeheartedly to the ethos of snapshootism via the practice of snapshotography. I am at peace with my art. It wasn't always so.

There was a time that I was so passionate about photography I forgot to seek out passions in what it was that I actually chose to point the camera at. The chosen subject that day, that minute, that second was merely a third party to the interplay between myself and my camera, a hanger on, a go between playing gooseberry in this relationship.

As a photograph is so indivisible from its subject, how can the photograph project passion when such is the condition of the photographer? Surely he should frame and display his camera instead!

I found my salvation in a box full of old family photographs resurrected through a death, a funeral and a family gathering. A plethora of poorly composed technically compromised eclectic and meandering snapshots communed with my soul and fulfilled a hollow yearning inside of me in a manner that the singular mechanistic self indulgence of my ongoing photographic approach could never hope to match.

I unleashed a passion for memory, to embrace it and capture the distilled essence of its smell, its taste and its form, a passion that has underpinned all my photography, all my snapshotography, since.

Snapshootism is not about the resultant quality of a photograph. It has at its core the nature of the relationship between photographer and subject, one in which the camera is merely a third party to that relationship. Indeed the resultant photograph might well be imbued with undeniable quality, such is what comes with experience and technical ease and poise, but most critically the snapshootist does not shrink away from that primary and virtuous relationship, that exploration of the passions linking photographer with subject, in cases where command of the mere third party, the camera, is not yet as mature as the relationship it serves to record.

Do we sometimes overlook such passions, such inherent soul, in approaching our landscape shot or capturing our macro image? Are we engaging in capturing an image of something or merely engaging in the act of photography?

Whatever type of image maker you perceive yourself as being it might be time to admit the snapshootist inside of you back into your photographic life.

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